Grief and the Whole 30

My Story

My sister and I were incredibly close. She was 31, only a year older than me. On a Sunday evening, she came to my house for dinner and played with my kids. They loved their aunt. On Monday, she ran away. On Friday, we found her. On Saturday, we planned her funeral. It was — is — impossible to understand.

The following weeks were a bit of a blur. Friends brought us meals, a sweet woman from our church cleaned my house, the other moms in our homeschool group helped teach my kids so we wouldn’t fall behind. There were countless phone calls, text messages, and random drop-ins. I slept a lot. I cried a lot. I prayed a lot.

The meals were so appreciated and needed, but they couldn’t last forever. I had to move forward with my life and begin to take care of my family again. Since January 2016, I had done 5 rounds of Whole 30 to get control of my health and beat my Binge Eating Disorder (diagnosed in 2014) so my family and friends knew to bring me nourishing meals. Now that those meals were over, though, my old dragons started calling to me. I felt the temptation to eat sugar, drink copious amounts of caffeine, gorge on popcorn . . . I needed to do something.

I decided to do a Whole 30. I ate incredibly simple meals, I drank a ton of water, I continued to pray and sleep a lot. Whenever the dragons came calling, I simply told them, “I realize I am really sad right now, but I don’t want food. I want my sister. I’m staying the Whole 30 course.” Mid-way through the round, I added in exercise. Even when my emotions were out of control, I could manage to eat well and do light exercise several times per week.

I don’t know if I lost any weight over the 30 days (I didn’t weigh myself before or after the round, because that wasn’t even close to the point). I do know that in the past, during times of stress or grief, I always gained weight and lost sleep, lost connections to my friends and family, and lost control of my habits. But this time was different. My clothes all still fit. My friends and family were closer than ever. My healthy habits were reinforced. Was this all because of the Whole 30? No. But could it have been possible without the Whole 30? Probably not, in my case.

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